JOHANNESBURG — Authorities in Madagascar are struggling to contain an outbreak of the plague that has killed two dozen people in recent weeks and has prompted a ban on large public gatherings in the capital to curb the disease’s spread.
The dead include a basketball coach from the Seychelles who was participating in a tournament in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo. Five people have died in the capital, reported L’Express de Madagascar, a daily newspaper.
The government has begun disinfecting schools in the city, compelling students to stay home. Many people have bought surgical masks and medical supplies in large quantities, raising concerns about a medicine shortage.
‘‘Once everybody hears that this is a major thing, everyone runs out and buys everything at the pharmacy,’’ said Joshua Poole, the Madagascar representative for Catholic Relief Services. ‘‘Access to those essential items is a challenge.’’
Poole said the death of the coach from the Seychelles had attracted more international attention to this year’s outbreak of plague, which is endemic to Madagascar.